May 7, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - A back and forth contest took an ill-fated turn in the eighth inning when a misplayed throw from right field was not handled and Memphis scored the eventual game-winning run in the Tulane baseball team's 7-6 loss on Saturday afternoon. It was the only error of the game for the Olive and Blue, who out-hit the Tigers 10-9 on the afternoon, but that was enough for Memphis to even the series at one game apiece.
"We were within a run, but if we had been more fundamentally sound we should have won the ballgame," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "Again, I am taking nothing away from Memphis, because they outplayed us. It was still a winnable ball game, but offensively we didn't make any adjustments in the first five innings. Also, I keep going back to the fundamentals, because it is my responsibility. It drives me crazy when we work on this so hard (in practice) and our guys go against it. But the fundamentals are the responsibility of the head coach."
Memphis (26-20, 9-8 C-USA) opened the scoring with two runs in the first inning against Green Wave starting pitcher Drew Zizinia. After a strikeout opened the game, Zizinia walked back-to-back hitters and a double-steal moved them to second and third. T.J. Rich opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center field and Phillip Chapman followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
Tulane scored an unearned run in the third inning to make it 2-1, as Tiger's starting pitcher Ryan Holland walked the bases loaded with one out before Bowen Woodson hit a ground ball to the pitcher. Holland threw home for the second out, but the catchers throw to first was wild and Jeremy Schaffer scored all the way from second base. A ground out ended the threat in the third inning and Memphis tacked on their fourth run of the game against newly inserted David Napoli in the fourth.
After the two teams failed to score in the fifth, Tulane (27-20, 7-10 C-USA) took the lead with three runs against Holland in the sixth. Woodson belted out his fifth double of the season to get things started and moved to third on a ground out, before Matt Ryan walked with one out. Garrett Cannizaro singled to the shortstop to score the second Tulane run and a batter later, Nick Boullosa singled to center field, scoring Cannizaro and Ryan to give the Green Wave a 4-3 lead.
The pitching staff couldn't hold the lead, however, as Napoli and D.J. Ponder each allowed runs in the seventh to enable Memphis to recapture the lead. Drew Martinez single and Chad Zurcher doubled to start the seventh, ending the afternoon for Napoli, and Ponder entered on the mound. An RBI single from Jacob Wilson tied the game and Rich's sacrifice fly put the Tigers back on top. Wilson did not let the inning go to waste after the first out was recorded, stealing second base and moving to third on a flyout to left field, before scoring on a wild pitch to make it 6-4 in favor of Memphis.
Tulane's offense kept pace with two runs in their half of the seventh when Brandon Boudreaux and Schaffer each singled to start things off against Holland. After Nick Schneeberger's sacrifice bunt moved the pair up a base apiece, Tyler Farley entered to pitch. Blake Crohan, who was inserted at designated hitter in the sixth, singled through the left side of the infield to score both runners and tie the game at six runs apiece.
Ponder stayed on to throw the eighth and retired the first two batters before Gross worked a four-pitch walk. Martinez followed with a double down the right field line, moving the speedy Martinez to third, and a mishandled relay throw from right field enabled Martinez to scamper home and put Memphis back in the lead at 7-6.
Alex Facundus came on and threw the final one and one-third inning scoreless, keeping the Tigers lead at one run. Napoli ended the day with three innings of work, allowing three runs on five hits to go along with two walks and three strikeouts. Ponder, who fell to 3-1 on the season, took the loss with one and two-thirds innings of work and two runs - one earned - allowed on two hits.
Tulane threatened in both the eight and the ninth innings, but stranded two runners on base in each of the frames to even the series and one game apiece.
Farley picked up the win on the mound, pushing his record to 2-1 on the season, with two and two-thirds innings of work, allowing three hits and two walks, and kept the Green Wave off the scoreboard for the final two frames.
Boullosa led the way at the plate with three hits and a pair of RBI's, while stealing his 17th base of the season in the eighth inning. Boullosa and Schaffer, who singled and scored twice, both extended their hitting streaks to seven games. Schneeberger saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end, but the junior walked twice and had a sacrifice bunt in the contest. Ryan was the only other Green Wave to post multiple hits on the afternoon, singling twice and scoring a run. Crohan was one-for-two with two RBI's off the bench, while Cannizaro accounted for the only other Tulane RBI.
The rubber game of the series between Tulane and Memphis will start at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 8. Any fans wishing to donate canned goods or non-perishable food items to help the tornado victims in Alabama or the flood victims in Memphis can bring those items to Greer Field at Turchin Stadium and leave them in the bins located at each entrance to the ballpark.